Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr.

A rose of a hundred leaves; a love story online

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very good-naturedly."

Then Sarah rose and opened the piano,
and from its keys dashed out a lilting,
hurrying melody, like the galloping of
horses and shaking of bridles; and in a

2O2 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

few moments she began to sing, and Brune
went to her side, and, because she looked
so steadily into his eyes, he could remem
ber nothing at all of the song but its
dashing refrain,

" For he whom I wed

Must be north country bred,
And must carry me back to the North Countrie."

Then Aspatria played some wonderful
music on her harp, and Sarah and Brune
sat still and listened to their own hearts,
and sent out shy glances, and caught
each other in the act, and Brune was
made nervous, and Sarah gay, by the

By and by they began to talk of schools,
and of how much Aspatria had learned ;
and so Brune regretted his own ignorance,
and wished he had been more attentive to
his schoolmaster.

Sarah laughed at the wish. " A knowl
edge of Shakspeare and the musical
glasses and the Delia Cruscans," she said,
" is for foolish, sentimental women. You
can wrestle, and you can fight, and I

" Love shall be Lord of Sandy-Side." 203

suppose you can make money, and per
haps even make love. Is there anything
else a soldier needs?"

" Colonel Jardine is very clever," con
tinued Brune, regretfully ; " and I had a
good schoolmaster "

" Nonsense, Lieutenant ! " said Sarah.
" None of them are good. They all spoil
your eyes, and seek to lay a curse on you ;
that is the confusion of languages."

" Still, I might have learned Latin."

" It was the speech of pagans and

"Or logic."

" Logic hath nothing to say in a good

" Or philosophy."

" Philosophy is curiosity. Socrates was
very properly put to death for it."

They were all laughing together, when
Sarah condemned Socrates, and the even
ing passed like a happy dream away.

It was succeeded by weeks of the same
delight. Aspatria soon learned to love
Sarah. She had never before had a

2O4 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

woman friend on whom she could rely
and to whom she could open her heart.
Sarah induced her to speak of Ulfar, to
tell her all her suffering and her plans and
hopes, and she gave her in return a true
affection and a most sincere sympathy.
Nothing of the past that referred to Ulfar
was left untold ; and as the two women sat
together during the long summer days,
they grew very near to each other, and
there was but one mind and one desire
between them.

So that when the time came for Aspatria
to go back to Mrs. St. Alban's, Sarah
would not hear of their separation. " You
have had enough of book-learning," she
said. " Remain with me. We will go to
Paris, to Rome, to Vienna. We will study
through travel and society. It is by rub
bing yourself against all kinds of men and
women that you acquire the finest polish
of life ; and then when Ulfar comes back
you will be able to meet him upon all
civilized grounds. And as for the South
Americans, we will buy all the books

" Lo ve shall be Lord of Sandy- Side." 205

about them we can find. Are they red
or white or black, I wonder? Are they
pagans or Christians? I seem to re
member that when I was at school I
learned that the Peruvians worshipped
the sun."

" I think, Sarah, that they are all descen
dants of Spaniards ; so they must be
Roman Catholics. And I have read that
their women are beautiful and witty."

" My dear Aspatria, nothing goes with
Spaniards but gravity and green olives."

Aspatria was easily persuaded to accept
Sarah's offer ; she was indeed very happy
in the prospect before her. But Brune was
miserable. He had spent a rapturous
summer, and it was to end without har
vest, or the promise thereof. He could
not endure the prospect, and one night he
made a movement so decided that Sarah
was compelled to set him back a little.

"Were you ever in love, Mrs. Sandys?"
poor Brune asked, with his heart filling his

She looked thoughtfully at him a mo-

206 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

ment, and then slowly answered : " I once
felt myself in danger, and I fled to France.
I consider it the finest action of my life."

Aspatria felt sorry for her brother, and
she said warmly: " I think no one falls in
love now. Love is out of date."

Sarah enjoyed her temper. " You are
right, dear," she answered. " Culture
makes love a conscious operation. When
women are all feeling, they fall in love ;
when they have intellect and will, they
attach themselves only after a critical
examination of the object."

Later, when they were alone, Aspatria
took her friend to task for her cruelty :
" You know Brune loves you, Sarah ; and
you do love him. Why make him miser
able? Has he presumed too far?"

" No, indeed ! He is as adoring and
humble as one could wish a future lord
and master to be."

" Well, then ? "

" I will give our love time to grow.
When we come back, if Brune has been
true to me in every way, he may fall to

" Love shall be Lord of Sandy-Side." 207

blessing himself with both hands ; " and
then she began to sing,

" Betide, betide, whatever betide,
Love shall be Lord of Sandy-Side ! "

" Love is a burden two hearts carry very
easily together, but, oh, Sarah ! I know
how hard it is to bear it alone. Therefore
I say, be kind to Brune while you can."

" My dear, your idea is a very pretty
one. I read the other day a Hindu
version of it that smelled charmingly of
the soil,

' A clapping is not made with one hand alone :
Your love, my beloved, must answer my own.' "

But in spite of such reflections, Sarah's
will and intellect were predominant, and
she left poor Brune with only such hope
as he could glean from the lingering pres
sure of her hand and the tears in her
eyes. Aspatria's pleading had done no
good. Perhaps it had done harm ; for the
very nature of love is that it should be



ONE morning in spring Aspatria stood
in a balcony overlooking the principal
thoroughfare of Rome, the Rome of papal
government, mythical, mystical, mediaeval
in its character. A procession of friars
had just passed ; a handsome boy was cry
ing violets ; some musical puppets were
performing in the shadow of the opposite
palace ; a party of brigands were going to
the Angelo prison ; the spirit of Caesar was
still abroad in the black-browed men and
women, lounging and laughing in their
gaudy, picturesque costumes ; and the spirit
of ecclesiasticism lifted itself above every
earthly object, and touched proudly the
bells of a thousand churches. Aspatria
was weary of all.

She had that morning an imperative
nostalgia. She could see nothing but the

" A Rose of a Hundred Leaves" 209

mountains of Cumberland, and the white
sheep wandering about their green sides.
Through the church-
bells she heard the
Above the boy
crying violets
she heard the
boy whistling
in the fresh-
ploughed furrow.
As for the vio
lets, she knew
how the wild
ones were blow
ing in Ambar
wood, and how
in the garden the
daffodil-beds were aglow,
and the sweet thyme hum
bling itself at their feet, be
cause each bore a chalice. Oh for a
breath from the mountains and the sea !
The hot Roman streets, with their ever-
changing human elements of sorrow and

2io A Rose of a Hiindred Leaves.

mirth, sin and prayer, riches and poverty,
made her sad and weary.

Sarah came toward her with a letter in
her hand. " Ria," she said, " this is from
Lady Redware. Your husband will be in
England very shortly."

It was the first time Sarah had ever
called Ulfar Aspatria's husband. In con
versation the two women had always
spoken of him as " Ulfar." The change
was significant. It implied that Sarah
thought the time had come for Aspatria
to act decisively.

" I shall be delighted to go back to
England. We have been twenty months
away, Sarah. I was just feeling as if it
were twenty years."

Sarah looked critically at the woman
who was going to cast her last die for love.
She was so entirely different from the girl
who had first won that love, how was it
possible for her to recapture the same
sweet, faithless emotion? She had a swift
memory of the slim girl in the plain black
frock whom she had seen sitting under the

"A Rose of a Hundred Leaves." 211

whin-bushes. And then she glanced at
Aspatria standing under the blue-and-red
awning of the Roman palace. She was
now twenty-six years old, and in the very
glory of her womanhood, tall, superbly
formed, graceful, calm, and benignant.
Her face was luminous with intellect and
feeling, her manner that of a woman high
bred and familiar with the world. Culture
had done all for her that the lapidary does
for the diamond ; travel and social advan
tages had added to the gem a golden set
ting. She was so little like the sorrowful
child whom Ulfar had last seen in the
vicar's meadow that Sarah felt instantane
ous recognition to be almost impossible.

After some hesitation, Aspatria agreed
to accept Sarah's plan and wait in Rich
mond the development of events. At first
she had been strongly in favour of a
return to Seat-Ambar. " If Ulfar really
wants to see me," she said, " he will be
most likely to seek me there."

" But then, Ria, he may think he does
not want to see you. Men never know

212 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

what they really do want. You have to
give them ' leadings.' If Ulfar can look on
you now and have no curiosity about your
identity, I should say the man was not
worth a speculation from any point. See
if you have hold sufficient on his memory
to pique his curiosity. If you have, lead
him wherever you wish."

" But how? And where? "

"Do I carry a divining-cup, Ria? Can
I foresee the probabilities of a man so im
possible as Ulfar Fenwick? I only know
that Richmond is a good place to watch
events from."

And of course the Richmond house
suited Brune. His love had grown to the
utmost of Sarah's expectations, and he was
no longer to be put off with smiles and
pleasant words. Sarah had promised him
an answer when she returned, and he
claimed it with a passionate persistence
that had finally something imperative in it.
To this mood Sarah succumbed; though
she declared that Brune had chosen the
morning of all others most inconvenient

" A Rose of a Hundred Leaves" 213

for her. She was just leaving the house.
She was going to London about her
jewels. Brune had arrested the coachman
by a peremptory movement, and he looked
as if he were quite prepared to lift Sarah
out of the carriage.

So Aspatria went alone. She was glad
of the swift movement in the fresh air, she
was glad that she could be quiet and let
it blow passively upon her. The restless
ness of watching had made her feverish.
She had the " strait " of a strong mind
which longs to meet her destiny. For her
love for her husband had grown steadily
with her efforts to be worthy of that love,
and she longed to meet him face to face
and try the power of her personality over
him. The trial did not frighten her; she
felt within her the ability to accomplish
it; her feet were on a level with her task;
she was the height of a woman above

Musing on this subject, letting her mind
shoot to and fro like a shuttle between the
past and the present, she reached Picca-

214 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

dilly, and entered a large jeweller's shop.
The proprietor was talking to a gentleman
who was exhibiting a number of uncut
gems. Aspatria knew him instantly. It
was Ulfar Fenwick, the same Ulfar, older,
and yet distinctly handsomer. For the
dark hair slightly whitened, and the thin,
worn cheeks, had an intensely human
aspect. She saw that he had suffered;
that the sum of life was on his face, toil,
difficulty, endurance, mind, and also that
pathetic sadness which tells of endurance
without avail.

She went to the extreme end of the
counter, and began to examine the jewels
which Sarah had sent to be reset. Some
were finished ; others were waiting for the
selection of a particular style, and Aspatria
looked critically at the models shown her.
The occupation gave her an opportunity
to calm and consider herself ; she could
look at the jewels a few moments without
expressing an opinion.

Then she gave, in a clear, distinct voice,
some order regarding a pearl necklace ;

"A Rose of a Hundred Leaves !' 215

and Ulfar turned like a flash, and looked
at the woman who had spoken. She had
the pearls in one hand ; the other touched
a satin cushion on which lay many orna
ments of diamonds, sapphires, and rubies.
The moonlight iridescence of the pearls,
the sparkling glory of the gems, seemed
to be a part of her noble beauty. He
forgot his own treasures, and stood look
ing at the woman whose voice had called
to him out of the past, had penetrated his
heart like a bell struck sharply in its inner
most room. Who was it? Where had
they met before? He knew the face. He
knew, and yet he did not know, the whole
charming personality. As she turned,
his eyes met her eyes, and the pure pallor
of her cheeks was flooded with crimson.

She passed him within touch ; the rustle
of her garments, their faint perfume, the
simple sense of her nearness, thrilled his
being wondrously. And, above all, that
sense of familiarity ! What could it mean?
He gave the stones into the jeweller's care,
and hurriedly followed her steps.

216 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

" That is Sarah Sandys's carriage, my
barony for it ! " he exclaimed ; " and the
men are in the Sandys livery. Sarah,
then, is in Richmond ; and the woman
who rides in her carriage is very likely in
her house; but who can it be?"

The face haunted him, the voice tor
mented him like a melody that we contin
ually try to catch. He endeavoured to
place both as he rode out to Richmond.
More than once the thought of Aspatria
came to him, but he could not make any
memory of her fit that splendid vision of
the woman with uplifted hand and the
string of pearls dropping from it. Her
exquisite face, between the beauty of their
reflection and the flashing of the gems
beneath, retained in his memory a kind
of glory. " Such loveliness is the proper
setting for pearls and diamonds," he said.
" Many a beauty I have seen, but none
that can touch the heel of her shoe."

For he really thought that it was her
personal charms which had so moved him.
It was the sense of familiarity ; it was in a

" A Rose of a Hundred Leaves'' 217

far deeper and dimmer way a presentiment
of right, of possession, a feeling of personal

emotion, which per-
stimulated h i m
mystery and

touch in the
plexed and
as the mere
beauty of the
flesh could
never have

As soon as he
reached the top of
Richmond Hill he
saw Sarah. She was
sauntering along
that loveliest of
cliffs, with Brune. An
orderly was leading
Brune's horse; he him
self was in the first ecstasy of
Sarah's acknowledged love. Ulfar went
into the Star and Garter Inn and watched
Sarah. He had no claim upon her, and
yet he felt as if she had been false to him.
"And for a mere soldier!" Then he
looked critically at the soldier, and said,

2 1 8 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

with some contempt : " I am sorry for him !
Sarah Sandys will have her pastime, and
then say, ' Farewell, good sir ! '" As for
the mere soldier being Brune Anneys,
that was a thought out of Ulfar's horizon.

In a couple of hours he went to
Sarah's. She met him with real delight.

" You are just five years lovelier, Sarah,"
he said.

" Admiration from Sir Ulfar Fenwick is
admiration indeed ! "

"Yes; I say you are beautiful, though
I have just seen the most bewitching wo
man that ever blessed my eyes, in your
carriage too." And then, swift as light
or thought, there flashed across his mind
a conviction that the Beauty and Aspatria
were identical. It was a momentary intel
ligence ; he grasped it merely as a clew
that might lead him somewhere.

"In my carriage? I dare say it was
Ria. She went to Piccadilly this morning
about some jewels."

" She reminded me of Aspatria."

" Have you brought back with you that

"A Rose of a Hundred Leaves." 219

old trouble? I have no mind to hear
more of it."

" Who is the lady I saw this morning? "

" She is the sister of the man I am go
ing to marry. In four months she will be
my sister."

" What is her name? "

" That is to tell you my secret, sir."

" I saw you throwing your enchantments
over some soldier. I knew just how the
poor fellow felt."

" Then you also have been in Arcadia.
Be thankful for your past blessings. I do
not expect you to rejoice with me ; none
of the apostolic precepts are so hard as
that which bids us rejoice with those who
do rejoice."

" Neither Elizabeth nor you have ever
named Aspatria in your letters."

" Did you expect us to change guard
over Ambar-Side? I dare say Aspatria
has grown into a buxom, rosy-cheeked
woman and quite forgotten you."

" I must go and see her."

" I think you ought. Also, you should

220 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

give her her freedom. I consider your
behaviour a dog-in-the-manger atrocity."

" Can you not pick nicer words, Sarah ? "

" I would not if I could."

" Sarah, tell me truly, have I lost my
good looks? "

She regarded him attentively a moment,
and answered: "Not quite. You have
some good points yet. You have grown
thin and gray, and lost something, and
perhaps gained something; but you are
not very old, and then, you know, you
have your title, and your castle, and your
very old, old family, and I suppose a good
deal of money." In reality, she was sure
that he had never before been so attrac
tive; for he had now the magic of a
countenance informed by intellect and
experience, eyes brimming with light, lips
neither loose nor coarse, yet full of passion
and the faculty of enjoyment.

He smiled grimly at Sarah's list of his
charms, and said, " When will you intro
duce me to your future sister? "

" This evening. Come about nine. I

"A Rose of a Hundred Leaves" 221

have a few sober people who will be
delighted to hear your South American
adventures. Ria goes to Lady Chester's
ball soon after nine. Do not miss your

" Could I see her now? "

" You could not."

"What for?"

" Do you suppose she would leave a
modiste for you ? "

" I wonder where Aspatria is ! "

" Go and find out."

" Sarah, who is the young lady I saw in
your carriage?"

" She is the sister of the officer you saw
me with, the man I am going to marry."

" Where did you meet him? "

" At a friend's house."

" Where did you meet her? "

" Her brother brought her to my house.
I asked her to stay with me, and finally we
went to Italy together."

" She has a very aristocratic manner."

" She ought to have. She was educated
at Mrs. St. Alban's, and she visits at the

222 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

Earl of Arundel's, the Duke of Norfolk's,
and the very exclusive Boleyns', Lady
Mary Boleyn is her friend, and she has
also had the great advantage of my society
for nearly two years."

" Then of course she is not Aspatria,
and my heart is a liar, and my memory is
a traitor, and my eyes do not see correctly.
I will call about nine. I am at the Star
and Garter. If she should name me at
all "

" Do you imagine she noticed you? and
in such a public place as Howell's? "

" I really do imagine she noticed me.
Ask her."

" I see you are in love again. After all
that experience has done for you ! It is a
Nemesis, Ulfar. I have often noticed that,
however faithless a man may be, there
comes at last one woman who avenges
all the rest. Enter Nemesis at nine
to-night ! "

" Sarah, you are an angel."

" Thank you, Ulfar. I thought you
classed me with the other side."

" A Rose of a Hundred Leaves." 223

" As for Aspatria "

" Life is too short to discuss Aspatria.
I remember one day at Redware being
sharply requested to keep silence on that
subject. The wheel of retribution has
made a perfect circle as regards Aspatria !
I shall certainly tell Ria that you have
made her the heroine of your disagreeable
matrimonial romance."

" No, no, Sarah ! Do not say a word
to her. I must wait until nine, I sup
pose? And I am so anxious and so fear
ful, Sarah."

"You must wait until nine. And as for
the rest, I know very well that in the pre
sent age a lover's cares and fears have

Dwindled to the smallest span.

Do go to your hotel, and get clothed and
in your right mind. You are most unbe
comingly dressed. Good-by, old friend,
good-by!" And she left him with an
elaborate courtesy.

Ulfar was now in a vortex. Things
went around and around in his conscious-

224 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

ness ; and whenever he endeavoured to
examine events with his reason, then feel
ing advanced some unsupported conviction,
and threw him back into the same sense
less whirl of emotion.

He had failed to catch
the point which would
have given him the clew
to the whole mystery,
the identity of Brune
with the splendidly ac
coutred officer Sarah
avowed to be her in
tended husband.
Without taking special
note of him, Ulfar had
seen certain signs of birth,
breeding, and assured
position. In his mind
there was a great gulf
between the haughtv-

N. O ..

looking soldier and

the simple, handsome, but rather boorish-
looking young Squire of Ambar-Side.
The two individualities were as far apart

" A Rose of a Hundred Leaves" 225

in social claims as the north and south
poles are apart physically.

And if this beautiful woman were indeed
Aspatria, how could he reconcile the fact
with her education at St. Alban's, her
friendship with such exalted families, her
relationship to an officer of evident birth
and position? When he thought thus, he
acknowledged the impossibility; but then
no sooner had he acknowledged it than his
heart passionately denied the deduction,
with the simple iteration, " It is Aspatria!
It is Aspatria ! "

Aspatria or not, he told himself that he
was at last genuinely in love. Every affair
before was tame, pale, uninteresting. If
it was not Aspatria, then the first Aspatria
was the shadow of the second and real one ;
the preface to love's glorious tale ; the pre
lude to his song ; the gray, sweet dawn to
his perfect day. He could not eat, nor sit
still, nor think reasonably, nor yet stop
thinking. The sun stood still; the minutes
were hours; at four o'clock he wished to
fling the timepiece out of the window.

226 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

Aspatria had the immense strength of
certainty. She knew. Also, she had
Sarah to advise with. Still better, she
had the conviction that Ulfar loved her.
Perhaps Sarah had exaggerated Ulfar's
desperate condition; if so, she had done
it consciously, for she knew that as soon
as a woman is sure of her power she puts
on an authority which commands it.
She was now only afraid that Ulfar would
not be kept in suspense long enough,
that Aspatria would forgive him too

" Do make yourself as puzzling as you
can, for this one night, Aspatria," she
urged. " Try to outvie and outdo and
even affront that dove-like simplicity he
used to adore in you, and into which you
are still apt to relapse. He told me once
that you looked like a Quakeress when he
first saw you.' 1

" I was just home from Miss Gilpin's
school in Kendal. Tt was a Quaker school.
I have always kept a black gown ready,
like the one he saw me first in."

" A Rose of a Hundred Leaves." 227

"No black gown to-night. I have a
mind to stay here and see that you turn
the Quakeress into a princess."

" I will do all you wish. To-night you
shall have your way; but poor Ulfar must
have suffered, and "

" Poor Ulfar, indeed ! Be merry ; that
is the best armour against love. What
ruins women? Revery and sentimentality.
A woman who does not laugh ought to
be watched."

But though she lectured and advised
Aspatria as to the ways of men and the
ways of love, Sarah had not much faith in
her own counsels. " No one can draw
out a programme for a woman's happi
ness," she mused; "she will not keep to
its lines. Now, I do wonder whether she
will dress gorgeously or not? What did
Solomon in all his glory wear? If Aspa
tria only knew how dress catches a man's
eye, and then touches his vanity, and then
sets fire to his imagination, and finally,
somehow, someway, gets to his heart ! If
she only knew, -

228 A Rose of a Hundred Leaves.

'All thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,

Are but the ministers of Love,
And feed his sacred flame ! ' "

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